Consultant at SoftwareSupp
Marketing takes time and effort. Sometimes, falling into the rush of short-term tasks and results we tend to forget about it. Results don't come overnight. Having the smartest and best-planned marketing strategy does not mean you will turn it into money the next morning after releasing a new blog post, social media campaign or a newsletter.
There is, however, one thing that pays off: passion and consistency. Being passionate about your customer's success and keeping your marketing strategy consistent around your vision can mean a straight road to your and your company's success.
When looking for a marketing benchmark and real-life proof, why not look at the actual success stories?
1. Learning from the best-in-class
2. Inbound vs. outbound
3. Marketing channels
3.1. Content marketing
What is content marketing
How to promote your content
3.2. Social media marketing
3. 3. Buzz marketing [TBA]
3.3. Paid marketing [TBA]
When searching for inspiration, you might say we should look at the best ones. After all, if you want your product to be the best, you should aim high. So, what's the problem with this kind of approach?
1. There is no one recipe for success, one needs to find his own path
There is simply no single way to do marketing. There might be some guidelines and experiences to learn from. But after all, you should rather have your own strategy to achieve your final goal.E.g. Coca-Cola has been using nearly the same logo since 1885, while Pepsi has changed it multiple times. Both companies seem to be quite successful today. They're simply different in style and the message they deliver.
2. Market, society and conditions changeLooking into brands' strategy and what led them to success might simply not work in today's times. With new customer preferences, modern technology and information overload, it becomes more difficult to communicate with customers. What used to work a few years ago, might simply not work today, anymore.
E.g. Apple's famous Super Bowl commercial from 1984 which was considered revolutionary in the advertising space, was nowhere near similar to other advertisements. It was completely different from other marketing strategies at the time, which was the reason for its success. If Apple was to copy past successes of other companies, it would likely not achieve the same results.Also, big brands and big success stories might not necessarily remain big in the future. After all, how can we know that the marketing Coca-cola does today will not lead it to failure?
3. You likely don't have the same marketing budgetLooking into big brands might seem like an obvious benchmark but it's more than likely your budget is much more limited or most likely, it represents a tiny fraction of resources possessed by Coca-Cola or Ikea.
Given this, big brands have much more flexibility in planning their activities and marketing strategies. If you're not a global enterprise, yet, you need to do everything much smarter and quicker. So, again, it's all after developing your own unique style and making sure you maximize your chances of success with minimal resources.
When I look at today's marketing times, there's one thing which comes to my mind - overload. Scrolling through Facebook, searching Google or looking through my mailbox, I'm simply bombarded with the information about new products, services or online portals. I can imagine you feel quite the same.
So can aggressive outbound strategy like cold mailing work in today's times?According to Austin Mullins, founder of Conversion Creatives:
Because I'm an active practitioner. If you put a lot of energy into personalization, grabbing data for your merge tags or custom fields that can't be pulled from a contact database, have a relevant offer, back it up with social proof, and make it easy for the person you're looking to connect with to say yes, it generates meetings and leads. The numbers don't lie.
But are they as effective like inbound channels, meaning visitors coming to your website or business by themselves? It all depends on your plan on brand building. Which brand would you trust more? The one which sends you cold emails or the one which gives you the right answers whenever searching for solving issues in your business?
So in this material, we'll be looking into the inbound channels you could use to do marketing for your business, which would help you build trust in your brand.
So, let's say you have your product offer ready, you know how to solve your customers' problems and have a clear message you want to deliver to your customers. Now, it's time to think about your marketing mix, meaning the channels you'd like to use to target your customers.
We can split the strategies into long-term campaigns which require more time to become effective (like content marketing) and short-term campaigns (like launch on Product Hunt), which might bring immediate results to your business. Sometimes, short-term strategies, connected together might bring long-term benefits to your business, e.g. a launch on Product Hunt can lead to increased brand awareness and a consistent inflow of leads.Let's look into how fast, high-tech companies do online marketing in the modern online world.
But before we go into details, what is content marketing?
Content marketing is known as a marketing approach based on creating, distributing and promoting all kinds of relevant content to your target audience.
What does it mean in simple words?It means creating materials like blog posts, dedicated websites, videos, infographics or any other types of content to make your potential customers interested in your product or service.But does it mean that the content needs to be promoting your product or service directly? Overpromoting a product is often a no. 1 mistake made by beginning brands doing content marketing.
Tip! Content marketing has to bring valuable information to your audience, help them solve some kind of problem or simply make them have some fun.So why would you do the content which will not promote your product or service directly?
1. Customers are bombarded with offers and new products. They might simply not be interested in what you offer if you offer your product right away, if they don't know your brand, yet.
2. Users need to find your content. To make your content appear, e.g. in search results, it needs to answer some type of problem/query people are searching for in Google.
3. Content needs to follow some well-thought strategy, instead of being simply a bunch of random promotional blog posts.
Instead, try to approach it from a different perspective. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer, go through his normal day and think about his problems. How can you help your customer with your content? Can you write a blog post with a step-by-step guide helping him solve the problem?
Real-life example Let's say you offer software for managing your employees' schedule. Your potential customers are likely managing the company or human resources department, so they might be searching for numerous things online. You can identify the topics that are often searched on the internet, e.g. "Small business HR", which has a traffic potential of about 1,200 searches.
You could write an extensive guide to "How to Run Human Resources Department in Small Business". That's exactly what one of the major employee scheduling software companies - When I Work did, appearing in the 1st position of Google search results for this phrase.
Marketing Software tip! Use software like Mangools or Ahrefs to check for phrases most often searched online in Google.
So content is all about delivering valuable information to your potential customers, getting them familiar with your brand or product, which can lead to the sale on the later stage of the process. In today's times, however, don't even try creating simple, non-valuable articles. Overall, there are 2 million blog posts created worldwide, every day. So in order to stand out and make sure your content and brand are noticed, you need to make sure you deliver really valuable insight to your readers. It doesn't necessarily need to be the length and extensiveness of the article, it can simply be a brief expertise knowledge about some narrow subject. The key is to make sure you deliver value-added instead of talking about general issues and simply copying information which can be found in other places online.
There are many more ways to deliver valuable content to your readers. And it doesn't need to be only about infographics, reports or extensive articles. You can also do it the more fun way.
E.g. LiveChat, a software company delivering a live chat solution for websites, according to SimilarWeb generates hundreds of thousands visits every month with a Free Typing Speed Test tool, letting you easily check your typing speed.And while this might be more complex and require more development work, putting some creativity into your marketing strategy might be worth an effort and might pay off in the long term.
As they say in content marketing, 20% is about creation and 80% about promotion. So even if you do your best to create a single best piece of content out there, it's still not enough to make sure people will actually find it and read it. Without proper promotion, the content will likely get lost among thousands of other articles fighting for the 1st place in Google searches.
Promoting a content means getting interest in your content, getting more readers read the article and link to it through their channels (e.g. their websites). This leads to more readers of your content and higher rank in Google search results.
But is promoting an article all about posting on social media and sending a newsletter to your subscribers? Let me show you the channels which are most commonly used in promoting content online:
You can promote your content via social media channels, like Twitter, Facebook or any other social media channel. But how to make social media campaign effective? It's worth to adjust your marketing strategy to the channel's "nature", meaning to the type of content which is published in particular social media. Why is that? While putting funny meme gifs might turn out to be very effective when publishing on Facebook, it might not be smart to do it on LinkedIn with a more professional approach to the published content.
So, let's look into the examples how you could promote your content via different channels in today's modern social media channels:
Twitter - Publishing short quotes from the articles, tagging people/companies mentioned in the article/content
Facebook - Engaging in discussions on Facebook groups, publishing videos made out of your articles
LinkedIn - Engaging in LinkedIn groups, engaging in posts within your professional network, re-posting a short version of your article as LinkedIn article
Instagram - Co-operating with influencers promoting your article, products
Medium - Re-posting the article in Medium publications with a wider reach
Marketing Software tip! Use Buffer to plan posts in your social media in advance.
Another way of making your readers interested in your article is reaching out to them via email. Again, there are quite different ways of approaching email campaigns for your new content:
So which of the above ones might work and how to put together an effective email promoting your article?It all depends on the type of email you're sending, e.g. it will surely be different if you're sending it to your colleagues, when compared to the one you're sending to the people you don't actually know, yet.Here is an example cold mail from one of the other companies trying to promote their article by relating to another blog post written by us at SoftwareSupp::
When reaching out to strangers, you can try to give them some attention by actually reading their article/content and relating to it in your email.On the other hand, the way you communicate with your network and subscribers depends on your company's values and culture, so there is no one recipe. It's worth to stay natural, make it interesting to recipients and possibly provide some value added already within your email, e.g. sending info which part of the article covers solutions your recipient might have in their business.
One of the most popular channels to promote content, like an article, is repurposing it into many different types of materials, like infographics, reports, videos, presentations. Repurposing content, you can always relate to the original source, leading to more original content's readers.So how can you repurpose your content?
Marketing Software tip! Use design software like Stencil or PromoRepublic to help you design presentations, reports or infographics, without advanced design skills.
Promoting the content is all about exposing it to the large audience. So the first step to doing it is to find places online, where you'd be able to target a large number of your content's readers.So what are the other common ways for content promotion?
Marketing Software tip! Use landing page builders like Landingi to set up promotional landing pages by yourself, without any IT skills.
All of the above are content marketing strategies worth trying if they work for your product or business, but have in mind none of them will work if you don't have an outstanding quality content in the first place!
Well, after all, marketing is not only about content. It's equally important to keep reminding about yourself in other people's daily lives and make sure your users have a positive opinion about your brand. Every day is a chance for a small gesture towards your customers to be remembered as a place to look at, whenever searching for your product or service.Why is it important to do social media marketing for your brand?
1. To remind your customers/users that your brand exists and is here to solve their problems whenever they need help.
2. To improve social proof, so that customers see you have some followers when they visit your brand's profile for the first time.
3. To interact with your customers, so that they can express their opinion and suggest their ideas.
4. To build a culture within your organization - any update or insights from your company can be shared on social media.
5. Simply to build an image for your brand and get your message across to potential customers.
But social media marketing has become a standard in today's world. Nearly every brand has its own Facebook or Twitter profile, so how to stand out from the crowd and gather new followers?
I often hear this type of advice: Promote only on social media that matches your audience, e.g. if you're B2B company, use LinkedIn as your social media channel.
What's wrong with such advice? At the end of the day, the same people browse LinkedIn as they do browse Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram. In fact, companies' CEOs might browse through Facebook or Instagram as often as they do other social media. It's simply different things they're looking for in different social media channels.
So to make sure your brand delivers the right message to your followers, target each channel correctly. Don't copy and paste the same post among different social media networks.
E.g. It might not be the best idea to put humorous posts and overuse emoticons on LinkedIn, while a funny meme might turn out to get a lot of likes on Facebook. Does it mean your brand needs to pretend to be somebody else, depending on the used social media channels? Definitely not, it's simply about delivering the message in a little bit more different way.
E.g. You've set up a great piece of content about your customer's success story using your product. When promoting on LinkedIn, it might be smart to tell more about how you helped the client succeed with some numbers while when posting on Facebook, you might try to write about how fun it was to work with the client and put some customer's quote about him happy working with you.
No matter which channel you're using, social media is nowhere near about one-side communication. To grow your social media marketing quicker, you need to engage in the dialogue with your brand's stakeholders.
Why is interaction important?
1. All social media channels will increase your posts' reach if it gets more interaction with your social media followers
2. It's the simplest way to learn about your followers' needs & expectations from your social media profile and your brand
3. It will help you attract new followers thanks to social proof: "Other people seem to like it, I will follow it as well"
But how to interact with followers? Well, there are many ways to initiate the conversations:
1. Simply ask a question publicly
2. Do the survey
3. Tag another person/company in your post
4. Write or comment on another person's / company's wall
5. Set-up a bot sending some message automatically when a follower comments on a post
E.g. Brand24, software to monitor your brand online has a #Brand24Discovers series, sending interesting tools to those who commented on the particular post.
Social media, like its name says, is social which means people are using it for social experiences. So make sure your brand shows the human face of your business. After all, there are real people working on your business, no matter whether you're a 2-3 people company or a 1,000 employee business.
There is always something to share showing your brand is made by people, for people (even if it's a serious B2B business):
1. The company's inside updates - new person joining your team? An event at your HQ? Why not share it with your followers?
2. New projects starting at your business - if it's not a top secret, it might be smart to share an update about a new product coming to your offer, soon.
3. Team/employee photos/videos - simply upload team photos from time to time.
E.g. Above, the recent post from Slack, the largest business communication software.
Turning your brand into actual people standing behind it will help you earn trust among your followers. Wondering why not go a step forward and simply build a personal brand? That one, however, depends on what you're planning to build and it's up to you if you'd like to create a personal brand or likely a longer-lasting company's image.Now it's time to look more deeply into different social media channels:
Twitter is one of the most popular channels to start with, especially if you're running a B2B product. Most companies have their profiles on Twitter and this social media platform makes it extremely easy to target people who are already following your competitors with the profile followers' details available to every user.Twitter marketing pros:
Twitter marketing cons:
So how to do Twitter marketing the right way? Unfortunately, there is no single recipe for success. It's all about choosing the strategy to match your brand's style. It's good to start with posting some tweets, researching your competitors and following them, letting them know you're out there. They might follow you back and as a result, you might get the first base of your tweets' readers.
Software tip! How to do Twitter at scale? You can use the software like Tweepi or ManageFlitter to find competitors easily and to start following them. To find the right hashtags which will help you grow your reach you can also use RiteTag.
Facebook, being the largest available social media network provides businesses with diversified channels to reach a wide audience.Some of the channels to use at Facebook include:
So what are the pros of using Facebook as your marketing channel?
On the other hand, what are the cons of doing marketing via Facebook?
So how to manage Facebook marketing the best way? With Facebook providing so many different channels to do marketing, you'd need to find the best one which can work for your business.Want to build awareness of your brand? Post regularly (you can use video to extend the reach), remember that the number of interactions like likes and comments matter.Want to use Facebook to build a closed community? Set up a Facebook Group with a clear purpose and invite potential members one-by-one by sending them a message via Messenger.
Want to communicate with your followers directly? Set up a Facebook profile's bot to send an automated message once a follower comments on the post.Your Facebook strategy will depend on your goal and the nature of your brand. It's simply important to make the most out of the Facebook's marketing channels as simple posting on your company's wall is not a guarantee of final success (unless you already have an amazing product and followers are pouring into your business's Facebook profile).
Software tip! How to monitor the effectiveness of your Facebook marketing campaigns? Use social media analytics software like SproutSocial to measure your social media effectiveness.
LinkedIn's popularity is growing, with an amazing growth of +145% of active users y/y. That makes it the largest professional network out there and at the same time, a perfect place to do marketing the right way. So how can you do marketing on LinkedIn?
What are the main advantages of using LinkedIn as a marketing channel?
What are the cons of using LinkedIn as a marketing channel?
LinkedIn provides vast marketing opportunities when it comes to individual interactions. Searching for the right person in the right company is now easier than ever. It can even act as a basis for connecting on other channels like Facebook or Twitter. Use it to connect with the right audience and take advantage of significant organic reach to promote your brand in a more professional approach.
Software tip! Adding a contact on LinkedIn means obtaining his/her email address. It might not be a good idea to mass mail your contacts but you can add some of the most valuable ones to automated mailing campaign created in mailing automation software like Woodpecker.
Apart from the most common social media networks you already know like Facebook or Twitter, there are an alternative, emerging social media communities like Medium, known as social media for bloggers/writers. Medium can be particularly useful if you produce a significant amount of content at your website/business and you're looking for a place to promote it and attract wider reach. Medium publications, which often tend to have an already well-established audience of followers, give you a chance to reach a significant audience without having to build your own followers' base.
What are the options to promote your content on Medium?
1. Building your own publication (a kind of blog but available to everybody within Medium's social media network)
2. Writing for other publications (being the writer/contributor to publication built by somebody else with an established number of followers)
3. Following popular writers and engaging in a conversation with them (e.g. by commenting on their posts)
But just like all the other social media networks, promoting on Medium has its pros and cons. Some of the advantages of using Medium for your content promotion include:
On the other hand, what are the cons of promoting your content on Medium?
Software tip! When promoting on Medium, make sure you deliver the highest quality of text and content to stand out from the community. Use software like Grammarly or Hemingway App to spell and grammar check your content.
Quora has been created for one simple purpose: asking and answering questions. It lets you have your questions answered by professionals and passionate from the industry to help you solve any problem related not only to your business. With time, it's become a major marketing platform used by thousands of marketers to promote their products by answering the right questions.
So how to promote your business/services/product at Quora?
1. Find the questions related to your niche/industry
2. Answer the questions, bringing value to the community
3. Fit your product into the answer, in a non-invasive way.
What are growth hacks to building a Quora profile and growing your audience?
What are the pros of using Quora as a marketing channel?
What are the cons of using Quora?
How to build your marketing at Quora and make sure it provides value to your business for years? As in case of any other channel, with Quora being overloaded with marketing answers, it's really important to make sure your answers bring additional value to the community to be noticed within the network and as a result, increase the size of your audience.